Doug and I attended the 49th annual Mormon Miracle Pageant at Manti Utah during the 18th thru the 27th of June. Over the past few years we have noticed a decline in LDS attendance to the pageant and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, there seemed to be fewer Christian evangelist in attendance this year as well. Although, there were still plenty of Mormons that heard the truth of the Gospel and Jesus in contrast to the deception of Mormon doctrine. Even with the attendance being very low on some nights, we still had a lot of conversations and handed out hundreds of tracts.
The gates open at 6:00pm and the pageant starts at 9:30 pm, giving us 3.5 hours of witnessing to the LDS when they go to and from the restrooms and the food court. After the pageant starts at 9:30, most Christians head to Millers Drive-in for refreshments and fellowship. Doug and I take one last witnessing opportunity, which I call “car window witnessing” by placing tracts on the windows of cars parked up and down the public streets for the pageant.
One good way of getting into a conversation with LDS is to wear a shirt with an LDS question on it. Doug wears a shirt which reads, “Is the Mormon Jesus the same Jesus of the Bible?” with 1 Corinthians 11:4 underneath the question and I wear a shirt that asks, “Why Don’t Mormons believe the Book of Mormon?” with the Book of Mormon verse 2 Nephi 31:21.
This year I changed the verse on my shirt from Alma 11:26-29, which states there is only 1 God, to 2 Nephi 31:21 hoping to get into more conversations about the Trinity. I was not disappointed with the reactions and conversations I had from people reading my shirt and looking up 2 Nephi 31:21 on their smart phones. It was easy to tell by their expressions that they understood the clear message of the Trinity in 2 Nephi 31:21. This would give me an opportunity to approach them and ask a few questions, hoping to get into a long conversation.
For example, one night there was a family of 6 all dressed in blue shirts that said EMBARK in the Lord. They were all staring at my shirt and I saw the dad read my shirt and look up the verse on his smart phone. As he read 2 Nephi 31:21 he looked up at me with a look of disappointment. One of the kids took his phone, read it and passed it on to the next until all had read the verse. Their family became quite so I approached the dad hoping to EMBARK in a conversation by saying to him, the Book of Mormon teaches the Doctrine of the Trinity, doesn’t it?!
He replied with a quite, yes. I gave him a short time to see if he would engage in more conversation but when he remained silent, I spoke to him and said, “Isn’t it ironic that the Book of Mormon teaches the Doctrine of the Trinity, yet, the LDS church denies and mocks the Trinity? Didn’t Joseph Smith declare that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of Mormonism and the most correct book on earth and that man could get closer to God by abiding in its precepts more than any other book? Which are you going to believe, the Book of Mormon or the LDS church because you can’t believe both? Not one of them looked at me or said a thing so I left them to think about 2 Nephi 31:21.
On another occasion, I saw an LDS guy named Mitch reading my shirt and looking up the verse on his phone so I approach him by saying, isn’t it interesting that the Book of Mormon teaches the Doctrine of the Trinity. Mitch agreed but then started defending 2 Nephi 31:21 as though it could possibly mean the LDS teaching of the godhead. As I pointed out how clearly the Book of Mormon teaches that the 3 persons are one God and not 3 gods that make a godhead, he finally confessed that it sure seemed to be teaching the Trinity.
So, I asked if he believed the Book of Mormon and he replied, “yes.” Then I said, “So do you believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity?” He replied, “no.” I stated that I was confused how he could believe the Book of Mormon, yet refuse to believe what it teaches. I showed him 2 John 9 that states if you don’t believe the doctrine of Christ (which is what 2 Nephi 31:21 states as the Trinity), then you will not see the Father, nor the Son.
Mitch did not know how to respond so he changed the subject by asking who I thought wrote the Book of Mormon? I replied by saying that even though the Book of Mormon has Biblical precepts in it, I don’t believe it was inspired by God because it teaches a false gospel the requires your own works to receive grace. We had a short discussion about the apostle Paul’s warning in Galatians 1:6-9 about anyone preaching another gospel. Mitch stated that he believed that Grace was a gift and not earned and said that the LDS Church was also recognizing that grace was not earned by your works. He said that even in the last spring conference, they talked about grace as a gift.
I showed Mitch in the LDS Bible dictionary the LDS definition of Grace, that a person could not receive grace until they have expended their own best efforts, stating 2 Nephi 25:23 that we are saved by Grace AFTER all we can do. After explaining to him the biblical meaning of grace and how it was a free gift from God through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, I asked him if he was temple worthy and he said he was so I pointed at the temple and asked why he needed the temple and his temple works if grace was a gift that is not earned.
I said “Didn’t the Church teach that your temple works are necessary for you to receive grace and eternal life? This temple was a slap in the face to Jesus for not trusting in His finished work on the cross!” Again, Mitch couldn’t reply so he thanked me for our conversation and left.
After Mitch had left, I remembered an interesting set of verses in Mosiah chapters 3 and 4 in the Book of Mormon about King Benjamin preaching to the Nephites a prophecy about Jesus’ future atonement through His shed blood that would bring forgiveness and remission of sin. In Mosiah 4:2 it says that the Nephites saw themselves in the carnal state and cried out, “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins.” And in verse 3 states, “they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins.”
The interesting thing about these verses is that the Book of Mormon claims these events happened 124 years before Jesus was even born on earth, making it impossible for the Nephites to receive forgiveness through Jesus’ atonement before it even happened! Since Mitch had tried to defend the validity of the Book of Mormon in our conversation, I was hoping to see him again and see how he reacted to this verse.
About then, here came Mitch heading across the street to the temple grounds. I approached Mitch and said I had read some interesting verses in Mosiah and was interested in hearing his take on the matter. Mitch was quite interested in hearing these verses, so we read these verses starting in the middle of chapter 3 thru 4:3. He agreed that this was a prophecy about Jesus’ atonement adding validity to the Book of Mormon.
I then pointed out to him that according to the Book of Mormon, this happened 124 years before Jesus was born, making it 157 years before Jesus died on the cross, making His atonement impossible to be received at that time. I added that this was just another piece of evidence that the Book of Mormon was written after the New Testament was written.
A little bit puzzled, Mitch asked if I thought that Abraham and the Old Testament prophets received Jesus’ atonement? I replied, “Yes, but not until after Jesus died on the cross.” I explained that the Bible stated the Abraham was made righteous through faith in God (Genesis 15:6) and that before Jesus died on the cross, making the New Testament atonement through His shed blood, the Old Testament temporarily atoned for sin through the shedding of animal blood which the Nephites already had and used, according to the Book of Mormon. The Old Testament atonement only covered sin until Jesus died on the cross giving us a New Testament atonement that removed sin completely forever (Hebrews 10:4; 8-12), so we can now enter the throne room of God without sin. Mitch was all ears as I explained the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament atonement.
He thanked me for explaining the differences to him because he had always been confused on the whole matter. I added my concern to Mitch about these false statements in Mosiah and my concern about the front cover of the Book of Mormon stating that it is “another testament of Jesus Christ.” I said, that there was in existence the Old Testament temporary atonement then the New Testament permanent atonement, but now the Book of Mormon claims to be “another Testament.” Does this claim fit God’s established pattern?
Please pray for Mitch and the hundreds of LDS that received witnesses of the truth of the real Gospel of Jesus Christ! The LDS church has a free app called “Gospel Library” which you can download to your smart phone or tables. This app allows you to cross reference to all their resources and scripture, which comes in very handy when witnessing to Mormons.
God Bless, Rob B.